White Gold of the Himalayas, nomad life, wolfs and snow leopards

Dear followers of this website, Adam and David are yet again reporting from Kargyak village in remote Zanskar valley. This time we are here to introduce the life of Doksa and surrounding areas were we spend our free time when possible. But firstly, what is Doksa? Simply said, it is more traditional form of a farm (...)

Simply said, it is more traditional form of a farm as you may know from Europe. Rather than breeding cows and pigs, you can find here yaks, goats and sheep. Instead of producing hay locals produce dry yak dunk. Rather than keeping all animals in fenced areas all animals are run freely, which makes Doksa life quite tough. Just take in account the migration for fresh pasture.  Location of Doksa changes every 4 weeks and is planned for the whole year in agreement with other villages. Almost everyone in Kargyak has some cattle and therefore every family has a dedicated member who looks after their yaks in doksa. Doksa people are no longer nomads as they used to be, instead these people are being pushed to the boundaries of society and only very few lucky ones manage to gain basic skills of writing and reading. Specially these days hardly anyone wants to go and wander for months with rest of doksa on steep pastures of Himalaya and maybe that is the reason why most of local nomads changed to semi-nomads that stay at home over winter and use the basic stone and leather made shelters high in the mountains over the summer while migrating for pastures. 

Local ‘’milk factory’’ is made of stone piles and leather, surrounded by big herds of yaks wandering around seeking some delicious and precious green grass. This place is not only a place to produce “white gold”. With bit of sarcasm, we can say it is a factory for happiness and joy. Life here is so simple with wide selection of delicious diary, warm-hearted people and almost no trouble. Well if you ignore the moments when some yak stumps on your feet or when you are hit by a rolling stone or when you are on a guard duty for wolves in the middle of deep night. Recent years have shown overcrowded packs of wolves and that make it a bit of challenge. The good side of the thing is the fact that wolves are afraid of humans, but this is not a case of snow leopards. And it was only a year ago when one of these almost extinct predators lost his battle with villagers. And if you think that its death became reason for the villagers to celebrate you are wrong… Anyway if wolfs are unsuccessful they have to leave doksa and keep looking for something else to eat, which is even harder especially after winter  and in this mountain desert. One of their potential preys Marmots are very common for this region. These small mammals are quite witty, especially with their system of underground tunnels. It takes lot of energy for wolfs to get one of those for snack. Indeed, they can try to catch some young ibex o argali, but so far doksa is still the easiest source of food, particularly small yaks. Local people say that if these wolfs are put on the edge of starvation they can even kill the mighty snow leopard. Nature always finds its solution to survive. We shall follow the rules as well.  So, that’s it for today.  So far, so good. 


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